People’s Convention for the NHS, London, 11 April

On Saturday 11 April, NHS campaigners from around the country will meet at the “People’s Convention for the NHS” to discuss coordinating campaigning to save the NHS nationally.

More information at www.nhsconvention.org.uk. The letter launching the event, publish in the Guardian on 7 April, is below.

We will be there, just as we were at the the 999 Convention to Save the NHS on February 28. And again we will be arguing for:

• The widest possible unity of different campaigns and organisations. It is unfortunate the there were two “NHS conventions”, with different sections of those who organised the excellent march from Darlington at the end of last year splitting off. Whatever the rights and wrongs of how the division occurred, we should work for greater unity.

• An orientation to mobilising the trade unions, from the grassroots to the highest level, to make clear and explicit political demands about the NHS, rather than just general pro-NHS noises, and put pressure on the Labour Party to carry them out, rather than relying on a Labour election victory to save the health service.

***

Finding the Political Will to Maintain the Health of the NHS
(Published in the Guardian)

The NHS is one of the country’s most treasured institutions. It represented a real advance for the health of the nation and its provision of free, universal healthcare for all is admired throughout the world. But its future is under serious threat.

There have been many local campaigns established to defend services threatened with privatisation or closure. But there must be a response on a national level. Starting last month with the relaunch of the People’s March for the NHS, there have been a series of events that will culminate in a People’s Convention for the NHS on 11 April.

The aim is to unite the broadest coalition possible, bringing together health workers, campaign groups, trade unions, health activists, pensioners groups and others with one common aim – to save our NHS.

There have been many local campaigns to defend services. But there must be a response on a national level

The convention is being organised around five key demands. 1) Repeal the Health and Social Care Act to halt and roll back the privatisation of the NHS. No to TTIP. 2) End the NHS funding freeze: increase spending to meet growing need for healthcare. 3) No more unsafe cuts and closures to save money. 4) Don’t let PFI costs kill off local services – renegotiate on the basis of fair value. 5) A fair deal and fair pay for NHS staff.

Steve Sweeney Founder, People’s Convention for the NHS
David Babbs 38 degrees
Ken Loach Film director
Rufus Hound Actor/comedian
Michael Sheen Actor
Stephen Mangan Actor
Lord David Owen
Frances O’Grady General secretary, TUC
Dave Prentis General secretary, Unison
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
Paul Kenny General secretary, GMB
Sam Fairbairn National secretary, People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Dot Gibson General secretary, National Pensioners Convention
Moz Greenshields TUC trade union councils committee
Professor Clare Gerada Former chair of the council of the Royal College of General Practitioners
Dr Jacky Davis BMA Council
Dr David Wrigley GP, Carnforth
Dr Kailash Chand
Dr Clive Peedell Co-leader, National Health Action party/consultant oncologist
Grahame Morris Labour PPC, Easington
Rehana Azam GMB national officer/co-founder, People’s March/Vote for the NHS
Jos Bell Chair, London Socialist Health Association
Dr John Lister Director, London Health Emergency
Professor Sue Richards Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public
Dr Aysha Raza Organiser, Ealing Save Our Hospitals
Dr Richard Taylor President, Independent Community and Health Concern party
Carolyn Jones Institute of Employment Rights
Dr Helen McArdle GP
Dr Alex Scott-Samuel Senior clinical lecturer in public health, University of Liverpool
Rob Griffiths General secretary, Communist Party of Britain
Martin Quinn Tavistock Keep Our NHS Public
Ben Chacko Acting editor, Morning Star
Dr Ray Tallis
Romayne Phoenix Co-chair, People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Ann Leonard York Save Our Hospitals
Martin Booth Stop the NHS Sell-Off in Cambridgeshire
Professor Wendy Savage
Merril Hammer Chair, Hammersmith and Charing Cross Save Our Hospitals
Bill Greenshields The People’s Charter
Dr Tricia Barnett Islington Keep Our NHS Public
Anita Wright National Assembly of Women
Harsev Bains National secretary, Association of Indian Communists GB
Dyal Bagri National president Indian Workers’ Association GB

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